Scholler coat of arms
Scholler coat of arms


 Pottendorf - Austria

Walda – 3.11.2008

The  anglicised SCHOLLER  name is written in German thus:


The two dots over the Ö   is called an umlaut.  During the typewriter era  in English speaking countries, and prior to computers, there was no way of typing the umlaut, so the family name was anglicised to Scholler.  You may sometimes find it written as Schoeller.  The “oe” is the pronunciation without the umlaut.  Our family has never used the “oe”. To use the umlaut  for the “O” on a computer, hold down Alt + 153. = Ö.   The actual country name, Austria, is written thus,  ÖSTERREICH which is pronounced as  <oster-reich>.


The Austrian language is German however, the country  has its own dialects, which are simply based on altered German.

The following is an brief outline of Austrian History – anyone who wishes to read up on the subject may Google it through the Internet or get a book from the Library.

Austria was a wilderness around 749 A.D.  The town of Pottendorf came into being around 1100 A.D with the construction of Schloss Pottendorf (Castle Pottendorf). It was built to house soldiers who governed the border with Hungry, to make sure the Hungarians did not trespass.

Over the centuries Austria was invaded by Romans, Turks and many other peoples who, each in their own way, left an indelible trace on the land.  This is often seen in the “onion” shaped towers (or steeples),  one of which is found in Pottendorf today.

Pottendorf became one of the largest Industrial towns in Europe through the endeavours of and Englishman -  one  John Thornton  b. 1771.

In England,  The Industrial Revolution  had taken off and Thornton could not see why others should not benefit from his knowledge of ginning and cotton spinning. He arrived in Pottendorf in 1802 and by 1811  had  built and established Spinning Mills in Pottendorf ;  later, he became an honoured citizen of the town..  Back in England he was considered  a “turncoat”.

The existence of the Mills ensured there were factory homes/flats  in which the workers lived.  One of which was 10 Henneberg Platz, Pottendorf.  The Scholler home where Maria Scholler reared her family, and where she died in 1966.

(Note:  Below is a picture from the very early days.   The history of Pottendorf has been written – it is very interesting.  Sadly, for English only readers,  it is in German. Erich reads the book then tells me about it but  I am not about to translate, herewith, what he tells me.  Walda.)


The Royal House of Austria ( The Hapsburgs) ruled Austria for almost 650 years.  Towards the end, it was held together by Emperor Franz Joseph who died on Nov. 21st  1916.   His wife, Sissi (Elizabeth) was assassinated in 1889. His only son and Heir, Rudolf, apparently committed suicide in Mayerling, and the succession devolved to  his great-nephew, Archduke Ferdinand.  It has been recorded that the First World War was triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand at Sarajevo. Be that as it may, the demise of the Emperor’s son, Rudolf, and the death of Ferdinand, precipitated the fall of the Austrian Monarchy and Austria became a Republic. 

This situation was precarious to say the least then, in 1938, Adolf Hitler  used it as an excuse to incorporate Austria into Germany – this act of “War”  on 14th March 1938 was called “The Anschluss”.  Although many hailed Hitler’s triumphant march into Vienna – there were those who were defiant.  Although a little “glorified” in the film, “The Sound of Music”, the defiance of many Austrians was not immediately evident – it did not pay to be “obvious”. The Von Trapp family were defiant.

Pottendorf Carpet Mill once made “Persian Carpets” which were sent all over the world.  During Hitler’s War, the Cotton Mill and the Carpet Factory, which were side by side, were bombed -  even the Castle was bombed.  The mills/factories were restored but the Castle remains a ruin to this day. 

About 30 kms from Vienna (written WIEN) , Pottendorf, together with the smaller hamlets which formed the district such as Landegg,  Weigelsdorf, Wamperdorf,  and  Siegersdorf, were combined under Pottendorf Council and the area is now very large.

Austria is virtually ringed by Mountains/Alps with plentiful winter snow, great tourist skiing and  tourist resorts aplenty.  Ice and snow  go hand in hand. For most, it was mandatory to learn how to ski. (Erich broke one leg twice and the other leg once in ski falls!).  Reinhardt was and still is a skier, he can also ice-skate. Austria is  a windy country, especially around Pottendorf where high winds  sweep through the district for well over 250 days of the year.

In the summer, young folk took to their bikes and rode around the countryside for miles and miles.  Erich did this too. He and his mates would carry small tents with them and camp out wherever it took their fancy.

Austria, was  a country of intrigue after WW11 and during the Cold War: it  seemed to become a “Spy” centre for Europe because of its Neutrality. This was aptly depicted in many movies one of which was “The Third Man”, where the “Third Man Theme” became popular the world over through zither player, Anton Karas. 

Many older folk would remember the Royal House movies, each named “Sissi” and with a sub-title under Sissi to tell which part of her life was being filmed.  Great Austrian Fun or as they would call it “theatre”. (see comments on Royal House above).

The Music World will never forget the great composers and masters of music
such as Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart – through to Strauss and The Vienna Boys Choir  ( It was not until recently that I read “The Vienna Boys Choir” was stranded in Australia at the outbreak of World War 11)  –  nor the conductors of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra which can be watched on Australian SBS Television every New Years Eve. 


Who can forget Mario Lanza’s voice in  Romberg’s “The Student Prince” or Lehar’s “Merry Widow”. Austria is rich in Music History.  What about Salzburg and the “The Sound of Music”!  Little known is the fact that Austria had its own “German” version of the Von Trapp Family, and the American version, as we know it, is not shown in Austria.  Yet…the country makes huge tourist dollars from exploiting the American Movie, the film sets and sights. This snippet of information from Andrew and Belinda who visited Salzburg in March 2007.


Erich returned to Austria in 1982. Belinda visited Austria in 2000 and again with her husband Andrew and daughter, Isabelle in 2007.


Many new photographs of Pottendorf, taken by Andrew and Belinda in 2007, are included in the Photo Folder, together with some older Pottendorf  Photographs for comparison.




Cross-border marriages were not uncommon.  Franz Scholler, an Austrian, married Maria Kiss from Hungary. 

Erich Scholler Family


NAME                        BORN                        DIED                          PLACE OF BIRTH

FRANZ  SNR.         18/5/1887                        1945                            Nechenmarkt
Ober Pullendorf –Burgenland.
Son of  Michael Scholler – Rooftiler
MARIA  (Mutti)           8/9/1896          8/9/1966                                  HUNGARY

Daughter of Emmerich Kiss



ZOLTAN                    4/1/1915          3/1/1973                                  BUDAPEST

Zoltan never married.  He died in 1973 and is buried in the Family Grave in Pottendorf. At this time I can’t find a photograph of Zoltan.


GEZA                       27/6/1918           29/6/1998                    DEUTSCHKREUTZ
Geza married twice.  Due to circumstances beyond his control during the War or whatever happened, he was free to re-marry.  His second wife was Katharina  Szoladitch b. 12.3.1927, from Wamperdorf..  They had a daughter, Sylvia b. 20.10.1958 (Sylvi).  Who married Helmut (?) there was a daughter, Sandra – who was 17 years old in 2000.
There may have been an earlier daughter called Heidi.              
Geza was buried in Wamperdorf

FRANZ                       7/1/1920      1945   MIA                      DEUTSCHKREUTZ
Franz never married.  A soldier, he was posted as missing in Action during the War
His death was traced by the Red Cross, to Sarajevo but no burial site. ca 1945

MATHIAS                 8/2/1921 (1923?)         8/4/1990          DEUTSCHKREUTZ

Mathias married a girl from Leipzig in Germany. The War years intervened. He later re-married to Hedwig Schlegelhofer nee Menschik b. 28.2.1913  They had  no children, There was a son from Hedwig’s first marriage, Johannes b. 27.2.1935 (or Hans) Schlegelhofer.  Hans came to Australia and in 1980 married Barbra?  He lives in Randwick, Sydney (2007)
Both Hedwig and Mathias died in 1990   Hedwig on 3/3/1990  Both are buried in the Family grave in Pottendorf.


 ROSINA (Rosi)        6/2/1925          Alive in 2007               LANDEGG

Rosi as she is known, never married.  She came to Australia several times on visits to Reinhadt and Erich.  She now lives in Vienna (2007)

RUDOLF (RUDI)      23/1/1928        4/9//2001                                 POTTENDORF

Known as Rudi, - married Gisela Wappl b. 5.3.1934  
There were three children, Kurt b. 30.12.1952 Helga  b, 13.2.1957 and Ingrid   b. 4.7.1959.  
Grandchildren, Kurt, Beatrix, Michael and Alexander.

Ingrid   m. (?) Djordjevic – she had a son, Andreas.

MARIA (MITZI)       3/5/1929          28/4/2003                               POTTENDORF

Known as Mitzi.  She married Friedrich (Fritz) Steurer  b 20.4.1924.  They had four children: Christa, Friedrich Jnr.(Fritz), Sissi ( the diminutive of Elizabeth) and Renate. 
Fritz Snr died in  Sept.2002.  Mitzi died in 2003
Christa b. 9.8.48 m. Franz Christ – b. (?) d. 27.12.06 One son, David  - b. (?0. Married in 2002.
Fritz Jnr.  b..  ca  1949 Died in August 1995 aged 46 – in a train accident.
Renate b. 20.9.1952
Elizabeth b. 25.9.1956
Maria and Friedrich are buried in the Steurer Family Grave in Pottendorf.

WILLHELM (WILLI) 11/5/1931    11/1/1972                      POTTENDORF

Known as Willi, he married Erika  Doucha b. 18.3.1938 They had two children, Andreas b. 16.2.1961 and Thomas  b. (?)
Willi contracted pneumonia and died in 1972.   
Willi was buried in Inzersdorf Cemetery - Vienna.

REINHARDT            29/10/1932   Alive 2007                                 POTTENDORF

Known as Reini – he married Waltrude (Trudy)?, they have one daughter, Heidi –Marie b. 11.3.1967.   Worongary, Queensland, Australia (2007)  Heidi lives in Sydney
Trudy d. 8/5/2007.

MARTHA                  27/7/1935        1989                            POTTENDORF

Martha married Karl Neissel. b. 13/3/1934  She had two children.
Gerhard b. 21.3.1959 and Erika. b. 29.10.1962  
The family name is written Neißel
Martha had a heart problem.  She died in 1989. She is buried in the family grave in Pottendorf. 

ERICH                       22/4/1938        Alive 2007                  POTTENDORF

Erich married Walda Fawcett in 1961.  Two children, Adam and Belinda.
Adam married Kerryn Daley – two children, Deklan and Alexis
Belinda married Andrew Watson –  a daughter, Isabelle.
Refer to Family details further down.
Erich and Walda  are retired and live in Hervey Bay Queensland (2007)

Readers, versed in the history of World War 2, should be aware that, it was a “crime”  to have Jewish blood in Hitler’s Germany and subjugated countries – one of which was Austria.  Those who could prove their lineage , were obliged to write down their ancestry in a book called an the Ahnenpass..

Much of  the above family information was taken from  an “Ahnenpass”.

The third son of the family, Franz Scholler, b. 1920  d. missing in action 1945,
compiled the family ancestry.  It has been typed up, and  added to, with some current information. Details can be found in the Scholler Folder.

Franz disappeared in 1945, somewhere near Sarajevo. Through the Red Cross, his mother, Maria, spent the rest of her life searching for him.  Shortly after her death in 1966, a letter came from the Red Cross.  It had more detail, but no burial site.

Erich  was the youngest child.  After the death of his father, he was made a “ward” of the local judiciary.   It was not in his make-up to do compulsory military service so he decided to go to Australia to join his brother, Reinhardt .  Erich was 18 years old, and with defiance as his only argument to leave Austria ,  he departed  Trieste on the “Aurelia”   on 29th June 1956  and  arrived in Australia on 5th August,1956 at Melbourne. He then travelled to Sydney to join his brother.   Erich spoke no English.

Born in1938, he was a youngster during WW 11 .  At the end of the War, the Major Powers of England, France, Russia and America, divided Austria into areas which they controlled.  Pottendorf was under  Russian jurisdiction which did not end until about 1955.   Food was a major problem.  The Russians loved children and would give them hand-outs of food.  Begging was not unusual, nor was stealing food from the Russians or farms.  For some children, the latter was something of a fun thing to do. Although life was not easy, the Scholler children made the most of what there was.

The family had  pet dog named “Rolf” .  It was a wolf-X which allowed people to enter the Scholler gardens but would not allow them to leave. Sadly, for Erich,  the Russians shot the dog. He and that animal spent a lot of time together.

After the War – many children fell foul of weapons and munitions left behind.
Unexploded grenades were prevalent.  Children lost  a hand – sometimes a limb – even their lives, to un-detonated  munitions found scattered in the forests where they played.  (Not unlike today in war ravaged countries where land mines are left for the unwary foot to step upon).

Food was not plentiful during the War years.  Erich’s mother, Maria (Mutti), grew her own vegetables.  They made their own bread and took it to the bakehouse in Pottendorf to be baked.   Meat was scarce, but the family kept goats, chickens and rabbits which were more like hares –  rather large animals.

Franz Scholler died in 1945.  He had gone out to attend to the animals and never returned.  His body was found in a river many weeks later.   He fought in the First World War and the upper  part of his foot had been amputated.  The prosthesis he wore, was used as identification.  It was surmised that he had been killed by Russians.  But for this story, how he died is now irrelevant.



During the first few years after his arrival,  Erich worked at his trade as a spray painter.  Reinhardt and Trudy  moved to Lae, New Guinea, to work. 

In the meantime, Erich had met Walda and become engaged.    Erich decided to follow his brother.  He ended up in Rabaul, on the Island of New Britain, New Guinea.  Walda soon followed.

Rabaul, today, is buried under volcanic ash.  In another part of the Family photographic history, there are photographs and a story on this subject.

On their return to Australia, Erich and Walda were married in November 1961.

Erich was Naturalised as an Australian Citizen on 1962.

They opened their own Smash Repair business in Sydney in a rented building.  Soon, they were able to buy  their own business..

They bought their first home in 1966, right on the decimal currency changeover – at 28 Beaconsfield Street Auburn, Sydney - in NSW.

In 1968 they returned to New Guinea to travel the Mainland.  This was achieved mainly by driving Reinhadt’s VW on many unmade roads; and in  vehicles supplied to them at Goroka.   Eventually, they ended up in a native village where a white woman was something of an oddity.  Walda won’t forget that experience in a hurry.

It was almost ten years before the children arrived, first Adam then Belinda.
Soon,  Erich figured he was spending too much time in the business and not enough time with the family.  Also,  the suburb of Auburn was taking a dramatic turn towards Middle Eastern settlers.  It was now becoming difficult to find shops that actually had signs in English.

The City was a mad rush – no time for anything –  not even holidays and,  no future for the children if the family stayed in Auburn.

In 1974, the Scholler family sold the business;  bought a caravan and a four wheel drive; rented out their house and set out on an adventure that lasted until 1979 when the family had to settle down and send the children to school.

They settled   in Anakie, a sapphire mining area, west of Rockhampton, and 42 Kms west of Emerald in Queensland, on the Tropic of Capricorn.  The Schollers built their own business known as “The Big Sapphire” and “Gemseeker Souvenirs”. They also built their own home.

The tourist business flourished.  Erich became a gem cutter – he even taught gem cutting.  Walda was a Post Mistress for ten years and also began to write history books on the “Anakie Gemfields” ;  finally she published a novel called “Stone Courtry”. 

Adam and Belinda were Educated at the Anakie State School.  They continued their High School education in Emerald.  This necessitated travelling 84 Kms a day by bus, to and from school.  Both children did very well.  On graduation from High School, they went on to the University of Central Queensland.  Adam gained a Science degree and Belinda a Bachelor of Arts.

While all this was happening, Walda and Erich built another business in Emerald.  Called “Emerald-Rent-a-Shed”, it was a series of  42 storage units.

The business in Anakie was sold, and the Schollers moved into 54 Park Avenue, Emerald.  Erich took up driving School Buses – virtually for the fun of it as he was semi-retired by then.

Shortly after Adam’s wedding in 1998, Erich suffered several small strokes which led to major surgery.  He recovered to return to his school bus driving, but, it was a
wake-up call. Full retirement beckoned.

Walda and Erich retired to Hervey Bay in Queensland in 2001.  Erich plays golf and Walda is very attached to her computer and writing. Updated 2015


Erich Scholler married Walda Lillian Fawcett at Concord, Sydney NSW

Adam b.  
Married : Rockhampton Qld
Kerryn Daley b.

Two children:  Deklan  b. – Rockhampton Qld.
Alexis b. – Rockhampton Qld

Belinda  b.
Married: Brisbane Qld  
Andrew  Thomas Watson b.

One daughter:  Isabelle Lily b. Brisbane Qld